Skype interview

"I've been given a date and time for a Skype call with a departmental manager from a company I'm applying for a job with. I feel okay about interviews generally, but this is a first for me. Is there anything special I should think about to prepare for it?"

Sally was attending a group interview preparation training session when she asked this question. Early-stage telephone or video preliminary interviews are becoming more and more common.

Mainly, this is because it’s now easily possible to run such interviews via, say, Skype from your laptop and because, from the employer’s point of view, it’s a fast and low cost method of sifting candidates listed as ‘potential’ after the great CV cull has occurred.

Such calls can be a low-key affair, designed to look at how well you: present yourself; think in a structured fashion; and communicate simply and clearly. Alternatively, they can effectively be a full-blown face-to-face interview covering all of the traditional in-depth interview territory.

Hopefully, you were given an indication when the meeting was set up, if not, prepare for the latter case, just to be safe.

So, apart from all the usual rehearsal and preparation, you need to think about proactively managing the call so that you look and sound organised and professional. Work through the following points:

  • Prepare appropriately, dress up.
  • Avoid audible or visual distractions. No naked people wandering back from the shower in the background, hide the bong, etc.
  • Check the lighting is okay on screen well before the interview.
  • Be enthusiastic and sit up straight.
  • Smile, it comes across subliminally.
  • Put the window with the interviewer in as close to the webcam as you can.
  • Keep a separate window of you open to make sure the interviewer can see more than the top of your head.
  • Build a relationship with the other person if possible, even only on a small level.
  • Speak clearly and appropriately.
  • Avoid swearing and colloquialisms.
  • Answer the question and stop. Don’t feel obliged to fill silences.
  • Avoid controversial subjects.
  • Have questions of your own to ask.
  • Make it clear you wish to go forward, even if you’re not sure.
  • Afterwards, make notes about the good and bad.

Stay positive throughout. As always, if you don’t do so well on a question, don’t worry about it – forget it and move on. Concentrate on your wins, not your losses.

Sally did well and passed through to the next stage and I’m sure you will too if you prepare well beforehand.

Good luck and let me know how it goes.